Jun 23, 2022
Five Red Flags to Look Out For Before Signing With A Manager, Agent, or Representative
As an aspiring social media and brand influencer, you probably dream of making it big.
At the moment, you are consistently and constantly looking for that one big break that would mean your name in the headlines. After all, you are kind of done with the small gigs and are looking to take on bigger endeavors.
On the other hand, it may be that you are getting more bookings than you can handle. Now that you have established a name for yourself, it would seem like most brands and businesses would want to work with you. Unfortunately, while you are receptive to these offers, you are pretty unsure if your schedule permits it.
Now that you have given it some thought, you are not even sure what your schedule looks like for the week. If any of the scenarios above sound just a tad bit familiar to you, then it may be time for you to look for a manager, agent, or representative. Influencer management is an effective way for you to invest more of your time in doing what you do best: content creation.
With appropriate influencer management, you can delegate all the extraneous responsibilities unrelated to the creation of content to an experienced, skilled, and professional agent or manager. Of course, you may feel that a manager in this time and age is unnecessary. After all, the explosion of the internet and social media has finally put the power back into your hands. With that said, a rising talent may not always need this type of support as they badly needed it in the previous years, considering that social media can already give them that much-needed exposure. However, it may be that you need a little assistance when it comes to handling the business aspects of your career or needs a little push to get it off the ground. If that is the case, the assistance of a manager may come in handy.
Be wary, though; there are a lot of so-called self-made managers using predatory practices in the industry. Now, more than ever, arming yourself with business smarts and knowledge is paramount. This is so you can quickly weed out bad managers from the good ones.
As a brand influencer, however, how would you know whether you are potentially falling for a predatory business deal?
Well, if you find yourself asking the same question, take a look at the red flags below when discussing a deal with a potential manager or agent that you come across:
1.) They rush you to sign something
Anyone that does not allow you some time to think and mull things over is someone with an ulterior motive. The same goes for potential managers. By applying pressure and making someone feel a false sense of urgency, they can effectively get someone to make bad decisions.
More importantly, rushing you means that you do not have time to do your homework and research the potential person you are working for. If they tell you that you need to sign with them right now so that you can “take advantage of the time of the year” or “hit the ground running,” they are effectively applying pressure. If you are pressured by anyone to sign anything in less than a week, you ought to be wary.
2.) They do not require a written contract
In any business deal, contracts are essential. Contracts practically contain all the responsibilities you and your manager are legally obligated to do. If someone wishes to work with you without a clearly written form of agreement, then you might want to reconsider.
Having a contract is the only way you can protect yourself legally. That said, it is a paramount instrument for you to protect your time, money, and assets. Anyone who wishes to work without you sans a contract either does not have much experience, not much to protect, or does not take their work seriously. All that said, never work with anyone without a signed contract in place—EVEN IF it is someone you know.
3.) They offer a fee-for-service model
As the industry continuously changes, people in the business are looking for ways to develop sustainable business models, one of which is the fee-for-service model. If you do have enough money to enter into a deal like this, be sure to proceed with caution and do enough research before signing anything. If there are any other red flags that pop up, consider walking away.
If not, you can enter into a trial period or a short-term contract with an option for renewal. This option allows you to test the waters and see if you can develop a positive working relationship with the manager. If the outcome is positive, you can renew the contract. However, if it is the exact opposite, cut your losses and walk away.
4.) You do not find any evidence of the connections they say they have
Predatory managers often make you promises of all the things they say they can do for you. Some of those things include boosting your social media followers and engagement. At times, they may even promise to give you partnerships with well-known global brands. They are willing to do all these for a fee. To make their offers more believable, they brag about their network and other personalities they have worked with without sharing specific names.
It may also seem very vague when they are talking about their vision for your career. It is typically generic and not tailored to you and your craft specifically. Keep an eye out for these types of managers.
5.) You do not know any of the artists they say they have worked with
Sometimes, all it takes to check the credibility and legitimacy of a manager is to ask the people they have worked with before. If you do not know any of the names the manager or agent has given you, it is very likely that if you sign with them, no one will know who you are either.
Keep in mind that in this business, track record is everything. If they have not had any success with their previous clients, do not make the mistake of thinking that they will finally strike gold with you. While there is still that possibility, know that the likelihood of that happening is relatively small—especially if they have already been working in the business for a while. Instead, go for agents or managers with good track records and established names. With them, you will know that your career is in good hands.